ALTON, Ill. – A modern-day painting of the Piasa Bird welcomes people to Alton, Illinois at the edge of the Mississippi River. Some upgrades could soon move forward around it to improve the visitor experience.

The Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau of Southwest Illinois announced Friday that the Alton Riverfront Advisory Commission will consider plans for the redevelopment of Alton’s Piasa Park.

The much-anticipated project calls for the redesign and redevelopment of the park, in addition to a new state-of-the-art Byway Discovery Center. One proposal for redesign hopes for more landscaping, water retention ponds, parking improvement, outdoor gathering areas, interpretive panels and kiosks, and a new Piasa Bird observation deck.

The advisory commission will review the proposal on March 28 from 2-3 p.m. The meeting is also open to the public and feedback on the plans is welcome.

The Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau is managing all aspects of the project, from design to implementation to contract management.

“This project will enhance the livability of Alton and the Metro North region while revealing our commitment to activate the byway corridor with key products, programs, and projects that steward key natural and cultural assets, promote active living, and build a vibrant livability destination for leisure travelers, our residences and businesses, relocators, and investors,” said Cory Jobe, President/CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau. “We must thank former State Sen. Rachelle Aud Crowe, Illinois Senate President Don Harmon and Gov. J.B. Pritzker for supporting this revitalization effort along the Great River Road.”

The bureau is in the process of finalizing cost estimates for the park redevelopment and building construction, though its expected the redevelopment will cost around $10 million. Public bids for the project are expected this summer. Without any setbacks, the upgrades could be completed by spring 2023.